Selecting a Control Strategy for Plug and Process Loads

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Plug and Process Loads (PPLs) are building loads that are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the building occupants. PPLs in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. On an individual building level, they account for approximately 25% of the total electrical load in aminimally code-compliant commercial building, and can exceed 50% in an ultra-high efficiency building such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF) (Lobato et al. 2010). Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. A complex array of technologies that measure and manage PPLs has emerged inthe marketplace. Some fall short of manufacturer performance claims, however. NREL has been actively engaged in developing an evaluation and selection process for PPLs control, and is using this process to evaluate a range of technologies for active PPLs management that will cap RSF plug loads. Using a control strategy to match plug load use to users' required job functions is a huge untappedpotential for energy savings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages69
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-51708


  • EE
  • energy efficiency
  • plug and process loads
  • plug loads
  • PPL
  • Research Support Facility
  • RSF


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